Moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday - while observing the death anniversary of his father Moulvi Muhammad Farooq and People’s Conference leader Abdul Ghani Lone - asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce a political package and reflect sincerity on resolving the Kashmir problem during his upcoming visit to the state.
“Kashmir is not a governance or employment issue. So when Indian Prime Minister will visit Kashmir he should not announce an economic package or incentives but come up with something concrete to resolve the Kashmir dispute,” the Mirwaiz said at a rally held at traditional separatist stronghold Eidgan in downtown Srinagar.
Addressing hundreds of supporters, including children and women, carrying banners and wearing part T-shirts, the Mirwaiz set preconditions for resumption of dialogue with New Delhi. “If New Delhi is serious about dialogue on resolution of the Kashmir issue it should agree to four-point confidence building measures like repealing black laws, complete demilitarization from cities and towns and release of political prisoners,” said the Mirwaiz.
Farooq discounted any secret dialogue between New Delhi and the APHC saying “this is a false impression being created.” But he was quick to add: “We are ready to sit with New Delhi for resolution of the dispute if there is seriousness.”
In the past, Mirwaiz said, the APHC held talks with India and Pakistan separately but failed to achieve anything. “The cause of failure was non-seriousness by India. We has made many suggestion but India failed to move an inch,” he said.
He regretted New Delhi’s alleged new approach on the Kashmir problem. “India speaks of politics and dialogue but on the ground its approach on the ground in Kashmir is military. But no mass movement in the world has been suppressed by the military might,” said the Mirwaiz, who was brought in a cavalcade from Jamia Masjid to Eidgah.
He said the APHC is ready to throw weight behind the resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue provided Kashmir is at the centre of the composite dialogue.
“We need to institutionalize dialogue process. I urge both India and Pakistan to create consensus in their respective countries on the issue,” he added.
He asked New Delhi to describe Kashmiri militants as terrorists. “We are not fighting against any religion, culture or civilization. Our youth were fighting for the dignity of their nation,” said the Mirwaiz, who lost his father to assassins’ bullets in 1990. In 2002, Abdul Ghani Lone was killed by unknown gunmen at the same venue observing elder Miwaiz’s death anniversary.
A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir today in response to a call made by the Mirwaiz. Shops, schools, government offices and private businesses remained closed for the day to observe the death anniversary of the separatist leaders.